Skunk

Name

Skunk

Scientific Name

Mephtitis Mephitis

Characteristics

There are many different varieties of skunk, of which almost all live in North America. At Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, we have a striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis).

The skunk is, perhaps, most renowned for its ability to produce a foul-smelling spray which it uses as a predator-deterrent. This spray is an oily liquid that is produced in the glands under the skunk’s tail. When under threat, the skunk turns around and blasts its adversary with the potent spray. The scientific name for skunk (mephitis) actually derives from the Latin word Mephit, meaning bad odour!

Striped skunks are found in a range of habitats in North America including wooded areas, scrublands, forests and grassy plains. They can also be found in suburban and urban areas; because of this, people often see as skunks as pests.

Skunks usually breed once a year between the months of February and April. The skunk’s gestation period lasts between 59-77 days and a female skunk can have up to 10 young in a litter. 

Diet

Skunks are omnivores. They eat insects, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians. They also eat berries, leaves, roots, grasses and nuts.

Size Fact

They can grow up to 90cm (from nose to tail).

Food Fact

Skunks are nocturnal foragers.

Fun Fact

They can spray up to a distance of 3 meters!

IUCN Red list

Least concern.

Where do I live?

North America.

 

 

Back to the top